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The Response-Able Educator Newsletter 13
February 1, 2003


Welcome! This is a free newsletter on becoming a Response-Able teacher and developing Response-Able students.



My mission is to inspire, encourage and uplift the spirits of educators so they can in turn inspire, encourage, and uplift the spirits of their students.





1. Quote [back to top]


"What is needed is a culture of accountability. Such a culture is one in which we understand that normally we are responsible for our choices and actions and expect to be held accountable by others."

---- Nathaniel Branden, Ph.D.


2. Humor [back to top]


Sign spotted in a high school classroom: "Sentences without verbs -- bad idea."


3. Spirit Whisperer Contemplation [back to top]


What if it is only your own weakness that allows you to perceive your student's weakness? What is seeing your student's weakness trying to say to you about your own weakness?


4. Teacher Talk Tip [back to top]


When disciplining, take care to use Teacher Talk that separates the deed from the doer.

Examples include:

"I like you and I don't like that behavior."
"I have a problem with this behavior, not with you personally."
"I'll miss you if you choose time out, but I don't allow talking during story time."

Many students think they are their behavior, their "act." They believe they are their report cards. They think they are whether or not they made the team. They believe being first or fourth chair in band is synonymous with their personal worth.

Students are not their act. They are much more than that. They are light and love; they are children of God. If we as professional educators do not have a vision of who students really are apart from their particular acts, who will?

Using Teacher Talk that clearly separates the act from the student who chose that act helps the student to see himself or herself as more than an act. Using Teacher Talk that separates the deed from the doer enables you to hold a student in a state of grace as you simultaneously hold the student accountable for his or her actions.

(Adapted from "Teacher Talk: What It Really Means," by Chick Moorman and Nancy Weber. ($12.95 plus $3.75 shipping and handling.) Call for quantity discount prices. (Toll-free) 877-360-1477.


5. Bumper Sticker [back to top]


Spotted west of Oklahoma City on I-40:

"Your kid may be an honor roll student, but you're still an idiot."

What possesses people to put this message on a car bumper? Are they simply being cute and clever? Are they unconsciously opposed to honor rolls? Did they not learn in kindergarten that name-calling is inappropriate behavior? Is this about jealousy, the beginnings of road rage, or a measure of the effectiveness of our drivers' education programs?

If you have this message displayed on the bumper of your car, please contact us with an explanation at



6. Manage Your Subscription [back to top]


A.) If you are receiving the newsletter as a forward and would like to insure that you get your personal free subscription, e-mail and request to be added to the educator newsletter.

B.) To remove yourself from this list, e-mail and ask to be deleted from the educator newsletter.

C.) Back issues of the Response-Able Educator Newsletter can be found here.

D.) Are you interested in receiving our parenting newsletter? If so, e-mail and request to be added to the parenting newsletter list.

E.) Please recommend this free e-newsletter to any teachers you know who are interested in adding tools to their teaching tool boxes.

F.) Please notify us if your e-mail address is about to change. Send your name and new e-mail address to Be sure to let us know your old e-mail address so we can unsubscribe it.


7. Article: Saying the "S" Word [back to top]


by Chick Moorman

“I won’t accept that kind of language in my class.” Those were the words that one of Austin’s sixth grade teachers used, immediately following his utterance of the “S” word in class.

Austin doesn’t typically use the “S” word, the “F” word, or any other word that has to be abbreviated with capital letters. He knows better and he usually acts accordingly. But on this day, he reached into his backpack, realized he had left an important paper in his locker, and without thinking about possible ramifications, let the word flow into the classroom atmosphere. A classmate overheard him, informed the teacher, and continued the string of events that would lead to Austin’s only (so far) school detention.

“Did you use the “S” word?” asked teacher, Sally Geuder. “Yes,” replied my eleven-year old grandson, owning his behavior. “I won’t accept that kind of language in my class,” Mrs. Gueder continued. “I know,” said Austin. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have used it.”

What followed next is critical. It is the language and behavior that separates extraordinary teachers from those that are average. It reflects a way of looking at life and the teaching/learning  process that is positive, nurturing, uplifting and inspiring. It is the way of Spirit Whisperers.

“Thank you for telling the truth,” said Mrs. Geuder. “I’m glad you admitted it. I will be writing you a detention notice for using profanity in the classroom. Your grandfather will have to sign and return the notice to the school office and you will have to serve a detention after school one day next week.”  “OK,” Austin said, reluctantly.

The detention notice that Austin brought home that day was simple and straightforward. It contained his name, the date, the class, the teacher’s name, the time, and the infraction. A place was provided for my signature. As detention notices go, this one was pretty ordinary. It was the note that accompanied the detention notice that was special.

“Austin really reacted positively to the detention,” the note began. “He didn’t try to argue. He admitted it quickly and owned up to it. He readily accepted the consequences of his behavior. He’s really improving in this area.”

Mrs. Geuder’s note touched on all the positive aspects of Austin’s behavior. It informed us of all the things he had done well. It focused on his strengths and the improvement he had made since the beginning of the year.

What is important to note here, is that Austin’s teacher did not make him wrong. She did not make him bad. She did not make him awful. She did not make him a troublemaker. She simply made him someone who got a detention. She knew where the boundaries of appropriate behavior in her classroom were, made those lines clear, and did it in a way that helped him see the positive side of his behavior. What a positive way to handle a negative situation!


8. Coming Attractions [back to top]


The Teacher Talk System announces the following open seminars:

Achievement Motivation and Behavior Management (K-12)

Lansing, MI March 25, 2003
Chicago, IL March 26, 2003
Atlanta, GA March 27, 2003

    • Decrease discipline problems.
    • Increase student motivation.
    • Reduce power struggles in your classroom.
    • Increase student responsibility for academic achievement.
    • Learn practical, time-efficient strategies that work.

Includes many Teacher Talk ideas and the Sounds of Spirit Whispering. Email to request a detailed brochure.


9. Request for Help [back to top]


Do you know a Spirit Whisperer? Send us a story. If it fits with our goal of helping others teach to a child's spirit, we will add it to the Spirit Whisperer Idea Exchange at and possibly use it in the Response-Able Educator Newsletter. You will receive a free Spirit Whisperer book if your story is used. (See "Spirit Whisperers: Teachers Who Nourish a Child's Spirit" on our web site,

A Spirit Whisperer could be any teacher, parent, para-educator, administrator, coach, counselor, bus driver, secretary, lunchroom aide, or grandparent. He or she could be present in a child's life for only a short time or on a permanent basis. He or she might teach down the hall or live next door. You yourself could even by a Spirit Whisperer.

A Spirit Whisperer is any adult who teaches to a child's spirit. He or she believes that to teach effectively, one must address the entire trilogy of a child's mind, body, and spirit. A Spirit Whisperer stays conscious that in our current education system the portion of that trio most often neglected is the third one, spirit.

A Spirit Whisperer's primary objective is always development of a student's spirit. A Spirit Whisperer focuses on the power of belief, developing an "I can" attitude, creating an internal standard, and teaching and modeling a solution-seeking mindset. Spirit Whisperers set up their classrooms so youngsters can learn that a classroom is more than a place of discovery, it is a place of creation -- the creation of who students are as human beings.

Do you recognize a Spirit Whisperer that teaches across the hall? Was your third-grade teacher or your high school biology teacher a Spirit Whisperer? If so, it is time to tattle. Tell me your story and I will help you write it up so your Spirit Whisperer's exploits can be shared with others.

Thank you.



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To find out more about workshops, seminars, and keynote addresses presented by Chick Moorman contact him at toll free, 877/360-1477 or on the web at


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